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The Marcellus Shale, Explained

Background

Marcellus Shale is a sedimentary rock buried thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. It stretches from upstate New York south through Pennsylvania to West Virginia and west to parts of Ohio. Named after a town in upstate New York, the rock itself is millions of years old, formed from mud and organic material. The natural gas created over millions of years as a byproduct of decomposition is trapped in tiny spaces and fissures within the rock. The Marcellus Shale is just one of many shale formations across the world. When industry speaks of tapping shale gas, it often refers to it as a “shale play.” The Marcellus is one of the first shale plays to be tapped, after the Barnett Shale formation in Texas.

Latest Posts

Clean energy advocates urge DNC to ban fracking, promote renewable fuels

Thousands of campaigners for clean energy marched through the center of Philadelphia on the eve of the Democratic National Convention on Sunday, urging the party to adopt policies that would ban fracking and promote the use of renewable energy. In an event that mixed national politics with local opposition to specific energy projects, some demonstrators [...]

Fracking opponents dump on Democratic Party platform

Kimberly Paynter/WHYY Tamara Clements with Food and Water Watch places fake dung beneath one of the Democratic National Convention ‘Donkeys Around Town’ statues in Philadelphia. This donkey is located at City Hall and represents the state of Georgia. The Democratic Party’s draft platform, advanced by a committee last weekend, calls for a tax on carbon [...]

Group intervenes to defend Delaware River Basin drilling moratorium

A renewed fight over whether to allow natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin intensified when a leading environmental group joined a lawsuit defending a de facto moratorium on gas development in the region. Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) intervened on July 5 in the suit in which the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is defending its [...]

EPA bans disposal of fracking waste water at public treatment plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has banned the disposal of hydraulic fracturing waste water at public sewage plants, formalizing a voluntary practice that removed most fracking waste from Pennsylvania plants starting in 2011. The EPA on Monday finalized a rule that prevents operators from disposing of waste from unconventional oil & gas operations at publicly [...]

In photos: the faces and places of the fracking boom

The story of the fracking boom in Pennsylvania and nearby states runs as an almost continuous narrative in the region’s press. But covering the blow-by-blow of new drilling sites, protests, lawsuits and regulations is just one way to look at how fracking has changed the region. Back when unconventional natural gas drilling started gaining momentum, a group [...]

PennFuture urges township to scrap gas-drilling ordinance

An environmental group is challenging a zoning ordinance that allows gas drilling throughout a southwest Pennsylvania township, arguing that the measure is unconstitutional, and violates a state Supreme Court ruling that struck down part of the state’s controversial Act 13 oil and gas law. PennFuture says the ordinance by Mount Pleasant Township in Washington County [...]

Invoking power of eminent domain, gas industry runs roughshod over private property

Pipelines criss-cross the countryside and lie scattered beneath the urban landscape. They bring us water, natural gas, gasoline. What if someone came knocking on your door wanting to put one through your front yard? That’s exactly what is happening across Pennsylvania right now, as pipeline companies use eminent domain to secure land from uncooperative landowners. [...]

PA Pipeline explosion: Evidence of corrosion found

A 15-mile long section of Spectra Energy’s Texas Eastern Transmission line, which exploded last week in Salem Township, Westmoreland County, will remain shut down until the company takes a number of corrective actions. Federal regulators issued a corrective action order to the company on Wednesday. The Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a division of [...]

NJ landowners sue to stop PennEast pipeline surveyors

Seven New Jersey landowners, along with two environmental groups, filed suit against the PennEast pipeline company on Tuesday for trespass. HALT PennEast, which stands for “homeowners against land taking,” along with the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the seven residents filed suit in New Jersey Superior Court. The action marks a new tactic in the [...]

Constitution Pipeline Accuses NY of ‘Flagrant Misstatements’ in Denying Permit

The builders of the proposed Constitution Pipeline hit back at New York State on Monday after state officials denied a water-quality permit, halting construction of the controversial natural gas line from northeastern Pennsylvania into New York State. The pipeline builders, led by Williams Partners of Oklahoma, said the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation had made [...]

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